Pirate Party Australia wishes to express its dismay at the recent amendments of the Electoral Act and disgust at Attorney-General Michael Atkinson’s apparent contempt for the South Australian public.
The South Australian Attorney-General commented with respect to new amendments requiring “anyone making an online comment about next month’s state election to publish their real name and postcode.”
Mr Atkinson said “There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.”
Matt Redmond, South Australian Pirate Party spokesperson stated “Every citizen in a democracy has the right to question the government, and in doing so, has the right to protect himself from censure. Even within the narrow scope of this bill, the Government has limited what people will be able to say without fear of retribution. Besides being ludicrously unenforceable, this amendment merely demonstrates that the Government has no interest in representing the people.”
He continued “That Ms Redmond and the Opposition raised no substantial objections to these amendments shows that they are just as out of touch with the internet generation as the incumbent Government.”
Rodney Serkowski, Pirate Party Australia Secretary criticised Attorney-General Atkinsonʼs comments. “Such comments are completely and utterly ignorant. Anonymity is an essential part of political discourse in any democracy, and an essential part of the freedom of speech. Mr. Atkinson does not seem to realise that someone may choose to maintain their anonymity due to fear of harassment, political or economic retribution and even
sometimes, threat to their lives. It is necessary for whistle blowers, those struggling against repressive governments and so forth.”